Content of being content

IMG_6499 (1280x853)There’s a fountain in our garden, the drops form a triad of continuous music, one drop that hits the water, one that hits the grass and one that hits the paving stones keep playing together.

There’s a wind-chime in our copper-beech. Six carefully baritone tuned pipes sounds softly, one after another.

There’s a dog under the birch-tree. Snoring the midday heat away.

IMG_6467 (1280x853)There’s a charming husband high in our cherry tree, collecting everything out of my reach.

There’s a pick up truck in our yard as our oldest son arrives with more sugar for the cherry jam.

In the middle of this am I. Standing at a garden table, tanning my back in the sun, pitting cherries. Bucket after bucket.

I am content. I am happy.

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You’ll never walk alone

IMG_5662 (1280x853)Yesterday I was present when the congregation at Tiller started to use their new liturgical clothes. The process of designing and making them is worthy of several blog posts that maybe will be told, one day. Today I’ll just share the beginning and the end.

I always start with the biblical texts for the Sundays when the liturgical clothes, or paraments, will be used.IMG_5618 (1280x853) This set is red, the color of blood, the color of martyrdom, the color of fire, the liturgical color for Pentecost, for ordination, for the day of the apostles. The texts speak about being a witness, about martyrdom, about baptism by fire and by the holy spirit. To me, most of all it speaks about the God who walks with each and one of us through all this. Be not afraid, one texts says. I will not leave you fatherless, another tells us. Yet another, I will stay with you to the end of the world.IMG_5641 (1280x767) So I wanted the textiles to show God surrounding us, enfolding us, walking with us, in every moment, in sorrow and in joy. Which made me start with the Fibonacci numbers. Fibonacci did not invent them, but told the west about ancient indian and arabic knowledge, the sequence and order you’ll find in nature, the golden ratio. Like the seeds of a pine cone or a sunflower, every row being the sum of the two before it. IMG_5639 (1280x853)To later theologians this sequence became a witness of how God’s ordering principles rule nature. To me, I used this sequence to make a cross, and the world where we live. Sometimes you do not immediately see it, like in life, it may look chaotic, it may look without order. If you keep looking, it is there to be found.IMG_5651 (854x1280)

 

Feeding the boys

IMG_4577 (1280x853)One sunday evening, more than 60 years ago, my grandparents went to chapel, as they did every sunday. Church in the morning and chapel in the evening. Except this sunday they were surprised to see some young soldiers attending. We’re glad you have found time to join us, they told the young boys. We would come every sunday if we could, they answered. So why can you not? They was almost ashamed to admit the truth, having to walk the sixteen kilometers made them so hungry that it was extra hard to miss the evening meal in camp. No  buses, no cafe and no meal from noon to next morning, hard.

I am sure my grandmother laughed and was surprised that this could be a problem. Of course you’ll join us for supper!

And of course you are welcome to do so every sunday, and of course you may bring your friends! And they did. From then on a steady flow of sandwiches, kringle, coffee and lemonade sustained young soldiers, year after year. My mother and her sisters grew up having lots of big “brothers” from all over the country. When my parents took over this service, I grew up having lots of big “brothers” to play with. And my gran kept baking kringle, sending them by the bus in the morning, so my mother could keep up feeding the boys.

IMG_4581 (1280x853)Some weeks ago, my aunt gave me my grandmothers recipe book. As many housewives of her day she had a year training at a household academy, and carefully wrote down everything they were taught. Through all her years these were the only recipes she used. As for me, I have several shelves of books on cooking, as well as her kringle recipe. I have her coffee sets, as well as several others. I have a much bigger house. I have much more money. Neither of that will bring the blessings my grandmothers suppers brought.

To me, I pray for the wisdom to leave the big plans, and just do the small service in front of me, with a laugh, with an open heart, one step and one kringle at the time.

 

A nap in time, saves nine?

IMG_4618 (1280x418)So here’s the thing, norwegians go skiing or sailing or hiking or visiting at Easter. And then they go to church, to conserts, to exhibits. In between they do crosswords or sudoko or read ( crime novels, mostly) watch tv or eat. Except me.

Since coming home from California I have been so happy doing all kinds of things to get my business started, and did not want to slow down. First a cold, then bronchitis, then pneumonia, so instead of slowing down I had to spend the last week at full stop. IMG_4600 (1280x853)

No reading, no writing, just moping at the coach waiting for some air to get down into my lungs.

Is that not often the case? I do tell my friends to take care, I do tell others that rest is essential.

I once gave a client the task of trying to do to herself what she would do for her best friend. She knew what herself in the role as her best friend needed, she felt guilty for giving it.

IMG_4610 (1280x853)What did she need? Someone to tell her to put her feet up, while fetching her a cup of soup. Why is it, that what we give without thinking to others is so hard to give ourselves?

IMG_4625 (1280x853)Today is Easter day. My big excursion was going out in the garden, considering if I should sit on the bench, taking the  pictures for this blog, and then going inside for another nap.

IMG_4622 (1280x853)And you know? Since I was in my garden last the whole world had awakened, teeming with energy and beauty, without me writing a single list, or making even a tiny plan for it to happen. To me, an allegory of the Easter Miracle, as well a reminder, nap in time!

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Seeing is not believeing

IMG_4507As I did go, even if I was not feeling well, I might as well make the most of it. Due to the connections I arrived hours before the others, and could go looking for things, in a most happy place to do that. A misty, unknown wood, sprinkled with steady spring rain and full of surprises.

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First I saw golden glimmers among the trees, old rotten leaves, but still a burning orange, so lovely.

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Then I saw golden glimmers among the trees, except these were reflection of trees in the water, and the glimmer was fiery red carps, golden moment.

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The next orange flutter was a bird hopping close to my feet, obviously trying to remind me that others had brought food…

I did not pay attention, as that was when I saw a bundle of unbelievable, flaming orange leaping over the carpet of pine needles and laying down to rest among the trees. Neither leaves, nor fish, nor birds, but a couple of Siberian tigers jumping for joy in the rainy spring morning.

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Sometimes, even seeing is almost not believing, and as I did not capture them until they took a rest, you might believe what you want to. Isn’t that always so, no matter what we are told, even no matter what we see, we believe only what we are prepared to see.

We see only what we think it is possible to see? Sometimes, we do. And then at other times, there are tigers in norwegian woods.

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When life hands you lemons- take a nap!

IMG_4456 (1280x815)I thought I were getting wiser, and in theory I am.

So here’s the history and the lesson it tries to offer: I have always had way more ideas than anyone can fulfill in a lifetime. Sometimes I try share my ideas with others, and sometimes I just try harder. I also have way more energy in my soul than in my body, having had my share of ill health through the years, but never giving in, always planning for something. I used to say, I’ll be ill on friday, or next week, or whenever I had a gap in my schedule. I tell myself it is because I want to fulfill my obligations, while in truth I guess I want people to admire what I am able to do.

Through the years I have had countless reminders that life does not work that way. If my body gets loud enough for me to hear it, I should have listened a long time ago.

So, I thought I had learned that. When life is too much, it just is! There is only so much decluttering and reorganisation I can do, if I forget to sleep and rest, no amount of neat drawers can keep me healthy. Or any of us, for that matter. Perhaps all decluttering should start with getting to bed at a set time and rising at a set time, and then see if life doesn’t change?

Just now, with a bad cough, and plane tickets for tomorrow, I am still working on that lesson. Perhaps I should have known as much on friday already? I wanted a nap, I needed a nap, and then I found 10 lemons in the fridge. If I were not going to be at home, they would be wasted. So I made my favorite, lemon curd.

I am wondering though if I really think I am worth less than two pounds of lemons? I’ll have a nap and rethink that.

 

Silver, books or food?

IMG_4193These last weeks I have been reading two books, in norwegian, written by daughters, clearing out their mother’s home. Some years ago my siblings and I did that too, a chore that is something quite else, more like an initiation rite.
Going through item after item, trash and treasures, and deciding;
This you must leave, to grow to what you are to become,
this you may keep, to stay true to who you are,
this you may finally get rid of,
this is not yours to have,
all the time knowing it is only things.
The lesson that could be taken is: “These things are not what your mother left you, but what is, and what is worth keeping?”

One of the authors used the lost Franklin expedition to reflect on what we cherish. The  real story about  John Franklin and his men getting lost while searching for the Northwest passage in 1845 is still a mystery. Actually a new theory was launched as late as this january. What is known though is that these starving, lost men, pulled their sleds, hoping for salvation, but still throwing away essentials to make their burden lighter. The Inuits and the rescue parties have found tins of food, medical supplies and crucial tools left along the last route. They must have been giving in to despair, realizing all hope was lost. And then, perhaps not, the last things to be ditched were monogrammed silver cutlery and a novel. Why?

IMG_4444I found my copy of the book, The Vicar of Wakefield, and read it through, to understand why and when it would be better than food. I am not sure, what do you think?

To me the real eye opener is not how these lost men prioritized though. The more serious question is of course my own choices, not only when it comes to material belongings,or food versus books, what about relations, obligations, work, beliefs?

When I let something go, what guides my choosing? When I decide to keep on to something, will it really keep me up to the end?